Cherry Limeade

Ahhhh, the perfect drink on a hot day. This cherry limeade hit the spot and then some. A little tart and a little sweet, you can make this regular or diet. The diet version isn’t completely carbohydrate-free. For that, you can omit the lime juice and cherries and instead use diet syrups, like the ones available from Torani. They make a wide range of diet fruit (and other) flavored syrups. We love them on sno-cones too!

Cherry Limeade

I recommend not storing this cherry limeade with the lime slices if you have any leftovers. The next day it’ll get mighty darned ‘limey’. Just drop the slices in when you are ready to serve, and remove them if you need to refrigerate the remainder overnight.

Cherry Limeade

Course Drink
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 liters

Ingredients

  • 2 liter Sprite diet is fine
  • 1 cup lime juice fresh squeezed
  • 10 ounces maraschino cherries not drained
  • 1 cup sugar artificial sweetener is fine
  • lime slices for serving

Instructions

  • Place the soda, juice and cherries into the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Combine all ingredients except for the lime slices in a large pitcher. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Serve ladled into tall glasses, making sure to get some of the cherries. Add a few lime slices.

Beef Enchilada Dip

It’s ok if after you make this beef enchilada dip you decide to put down your tortilla chip and grab a spoon and eat it like chili. I’m not going to blame you one single bit. The enchilada sauce has that great southwestern spiciness to it. Adding some ground beef and toppings make it not only a great dip but also a great chili.
Beef Enchilada DipI used my fire-roasted enchilada sauce when I made this beef enchilada dip. The char flavor comes thru, making the tomato sauce oh so much better. I often find myself substituting fire-roasted versions of peppers and tomatoes in recipes. Specially when the recipes call for chiles or jalapenos.

Beef Enchilada Dip

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce I used my fire-roasted enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups grated cheese Monterey Jack or cheddar cheeses work best
  • Sour cream and diced pickled jalapenos for garnish
  • Tortilla chips for serving

Instructions

  • Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Drain most of the fat and add the onion and cook until just tender.
  • Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Stir in the enchilada sauce.
  • Sprinkle with the cheese..
  • Cover and wait until the cheese melts, 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve topped with sour cream and diced jalalpenos, with chips for dipping.

Deep-Fried Pepper Rings

I’ve fried (and devoured) my share of deep-fried onion rings. And deep-fried pickles. And deep-fried jalapenos. These deep-fried pepper rings were different. The peppers are a bit crunchy. And they’re a bit sweet. You get that great pepper flavor, all surrounded in a great crunchy coating that sticks to each and every pepper perfectly. Great for dipping.

Deep-Fried Pepper Rings

I absolutely loved the dipping sauce for these deep-fried pepper rings. I’m a huge fan of Old Bay. Anita doesn’t like it if it’s too strong. But she loved this sauce. It has the just the right amount of Old Bay. It’d be great for dipping much more than just these rings. Make extra and use it with chips, fries and fresh veggies.

Also try my deep-fried jalapeno slices.

Deep-Fried Pepper Rings

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the pepper rings

  • 6 small sweet peppers assorted colors, sliced thin, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg beaten
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Oil for frying

For the dipping sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Cayenne pepper to taste

Instructions

For the dipping sauce

  • Whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the pepper rings

  • Heat 2" of oil to 350 F.
  • Combine the flour, water, and beaten egg together in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add peppers to the batter and use a spatula to carefully stir and coat them completely.
  • Working in batches if necessary, deep fry the coated rings 5-8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plated to drain and cool.
  • Season rings with salt and pepper and serve with the dipping sauce.

Deep-Fried Jalapeno Slices

I didn’t plant a pepper garden this year. But on what I now call “Christmas in Summer”, our neighbor brought us a big ole batch of jalapenos. I knew exactly what I was going to make because I’ve been jonesin’ for deep-fried jalapeno slices for a while. Sure, they pack a bit of heat, but honestly, they aren’t that hot. The batter is perfect, not hiding that great pepper flavor. And just in case we find a hot ring or two, we serve them with Ranch dressing for dipping and cooling.
Deep-Fried Jalapeno Slices

I admit it. Just like I do with my copycat Long John Silver’s fish-and-chips, I made extra ‘crunchies’ when I made these deep-fried jalapeno slices. Ya know, the little pieces of crunchy fried batter that end up in the basket. They’re almost as good as the peppers. Almost.

Also try my deep-fried pepper rings.

Deep-Fried Jalapeno Slices

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 12 ounces beer
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 medium jalapenos sliced
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • Ranch dressing for serving

Instructions

  • In a large bowl whisk together the egg, beer and baking powder.
  • Add the seasoned salt and flour and whisk until smooth.
  • Heat 2-3" of oil to 365 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Add jalapeno slices to the batter. Stir to coat completely.
  • Working in batches, remove the jalapeno slices from the batter and transfer to the oil. Fry until golden brown, flipping once. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter to drain.
  • Serve with Ranch dressing for dipping.

Blackened Fried Shrimp

I could probably eat a ton of these blackened fried shrimp. I was already badly addicted to fried shrimp. Then along came these beyond-delicious treats and my addiction somehow got worse. I didn’t even think that was possible. Yummy crunchy batter that has a great light spiciness to it. The batter isn’t too thick. It isn’t too thin. You really just can’t stop eating them.
Blackened Fried Shrimp

For a little extra kick, sprinkle the shrimp with more of the seasoning just after you remove them from the hot oil. Why go thru the trouble of making the blackened seasoning from scratch? That store-bought stuff is just way too salty for me. But you’re certainly free to use it.

Also try my Cajun fried shrimp.

Blackend Fried Shrimp

Course Appetizer or Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 pound large shrimp peeled, deveined
  • vegetable oil for frying

For the blackened seasoning (may make a bit more than you'll need)

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

For the flour station

  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 teaspoons blackened seasoning from above

For the dipping station

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Instructions

  • Place shrimp into a large bowl. Season with two teaspoons of the blackened seasoning and toss well.
  • Combine the flour and blackened seasoning. Dip the shrimp into the mixture and coat well. Transfer to a plate and place into the freezer for five minutes. Reserve the flour mixture.
  • Heat 3-4" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Whisk together the egg, milk and hot sauce in a pie plate or shallow dish.
  • Dip the shrimp into the egg mixture and then return to the flour mixture to coat.
  • Shake off excess flour and fry 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.
  • Serve with your favorite tartar sauce or cocktail sauce.

Cajun Fried Shrimp

My two biggest food obsessions? Chicken wings and fried shrimp. I could eat either one any time, any where. I’ve never had wings or shrimp that I didn’t absolutely love. Like these Cajun fried shrimp. Lightly crunchy. Stick-to-the-shrimp batter. A little heat. Perfectly cooked.Cajun Fried Shrimp

This is shrimp done up right. I served these Cajun fried shrimp with a crazy wonderful remoulade that has ended up being a shrimp-dipping staple in our house. It’s great for fries fish, too.

For that little extra ‘something’ sprinkle the shrimp lightly with Old Bay seasoning just before serving.

Also try my crispy fried shrimp and my blackened fried shrimp.

Cajun Fried Shrimp

Course Appetizer or Main
Cuisine Main
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds shrimp peeled and deveined
  • Spicy Remoulade Sauce recipe follows

For the Spicy Remoulade Sauce

  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 medium lemon juices

Instructions

  • Heat 3-4" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • In a pie plate or shallow dish, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and mustard.
  • In another pie plate or shallow dish, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, paprika, salt, cayenne and garlic powder.
  • Working in batches, add the shrimp to the flour mixture and coat well.
  • Shake off excess then place into the buttermilk mixture.
  • Shake off excess then return to the flour mixture, coating again.
  • Add to the hot oil and fry 3-4 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Serve with the spicy remoulade sauce.

For the Spicy Remoulade Sauce

  • Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Crispy Fried Shrimp

I can eat an embarrassing amount of crispy fried shrimp. My addiction to these little goodies started as a child. Maybe once every few months we would eat out at Sizzler. I would always get the fried shrimp. I would devour them.

That tradition lives on, believe me. That’s why I make them at home. In bigger batches. These crispy fried shrimp are nice and crispy and have a fantastic lightly savory flavor. No overpowering flavors here, you can still taste the wonderful shrimp.
Crispy Fried ShrimpI like to use shrimp that aren’t too big or too small when I make crispy fried shrimp. For me, 21-25 count (that means 21-25 shrimp are in a pound) are the perfect size. If I can get them, I use Louisiana Gulf Shrimp. I believe they have the best flavor but you can use whatever you prefer (or can find).

You can use pre-shelled and pre-deveined shrimp but give them a once-over before using to make sure that there aren’t any shell pieces or veins left. Just in case.

If you’re looking for something super-simple for dipping your delicious crispy fried shrimp, try my quick cocktail sauce or my Carolina cocktail sauce.

Also try my Cajun fried shrimp.

Crispy Fried Shrimp

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unshelled medium raw shrimp 21-25 count
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs substitute Panko bread crumbs for even more crunch
  • 3 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Remove the shells from the shrimp up to the tail section. Make an incision down the back and remove the vein. Rinse with cold water.
  • In a large bowl or pie plate combine the egg and milk.
  • Place the flour in another large bowl or pie plate.
  • And in another large bowl or pie plate place the bread crumbs, salt, basil, parsley, garlic and onion powders.
  • Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or deep fryer to 350 F.
  • Working in batches, coat the shrimp in the egg mixture. Shake off excess and then roll in flour.
  • Return shrimp to the egg mixture and coat again. Shake off excess and then roll in the bread crumb mixture, coating well.
  • Transfer to hot oil and fry until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to let drain before serving.

Smoked Cheetos

Well, yep, smoked Cheetos are different. And boy, you gotta be careful smoking them too. It doesn’t take much smoke to get these little crunchy morsels mighty smoky. I admit, my first time making them I got distracted and smoked them longer than I should have. I was able to rescue them (the longer they rest after smoking, the more mellow the smoke flavor gets) but I suggest you start with less smoke time, try them, and go from there. They come out totally new, something people won’t expect! Nice and crunchy and smoky cheesy!

To smoke Cheetos you use a cold smoking technique. You do not want high heat. You can get by with temperatures up to 180 F, but I suggest cold smoking, which is generally below 90 F.

Smoked Cheetos

I use an A-Maze-N smoke tube when cold smoking. It gives me perfect control over the temperature and produces consistent smoke. I buy wood pellets and stuff the tube completely, then light one end. The tube stays lit for a few hours, perfect for smoking Cheetos. I highly recommend it. It’s also great for adding smoke flavor to dishes being cooked on a gas grill.

Since you have your cold smoke set-up going, throw on some potato chips or Chex mix too!

Smoked Cheetos

Course Appetizer
Author Mike

Ingredients

For cold smoking (using charcoal)

  • 4 lit charcoal briquettes
  • 1 small chunk apple wood

For cold smoking (using the A-MAZE-N tube)

  • wood pellets

For the smoked Cheetos

Instructions

For cold smoking (using charcoal)

  • Place the 4 lit briquettes in the bottom of your smoker.
  • Add the wood chunk.
  • Once the wood is smoking, you can add the Cheetos.

For cold smoking (using the A-MAZE-N tube)

  • Fill the tube with the wood pellets. Place into the bottom of your smoker and light one end. Once the pellets produce smoke, you can add the Cheetos.

For the smoked Cheetos

  • Place the Cheetos in an aluminum pan over your cold smoke setup that is already producing smoke (from above).
  • Smoke 20-30 minutes, gently tossing once or twice, until the desired smoke taste is achieved.
  • It's best to let the smoked snacks sit out for a while before serving. The smoke flavor can be a little strong at first. A little rest time will mellow it.

Deluxe Cheddar Pretzel Bites

The reason I made such a big batch of these deluxe cheddar pretzel bites isn’t because I needed a huge amount for a family get-together. Sure, I needed some, but not a ton. Nope, I made a big batch because I wanted more for myself. Sorry, but it’s true. I was being selfish, but for a good reason. I love them. Crunchy, a bit buttery, and definitely cheesy. And made with real cheese!
Deluxe Cheddar Pretzel Bites

You don’t have to use pretzels to make these deluxe cheddar pretzel bites. If you prefer, any cracker will do, specially oyster crackers or saltines. Just don’t substitute something that is strongly flavored and might not go well with the cheddar. That would make for a bowl of sadness.

Also check out my balsamicpizza,and spicy garlic ranch pretzel bites! They are all out of this world good too!

Deluxe Cheddar Pretzel Bites

Course Snack
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 1 pound

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 200 F.
  • Place pretzel bites in large bowl.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the oil and cheddar seasoning.
  • Pour the oil mixture over the pretzels and toss to coat well.
  • Pour pretzels bites out onto a large baking pan and spread out evenly.
  • Bake for 1 hour, tossing every 20 minutes.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.

Peach and Chili Sauce Meatballs

We’ve all had the ‘standard’ appetizer meatballs. Heck, I’ve had more than my share, I admit it. Proudly. These peach and chili sauce meatballs are not those meatballs, though you might think they are at first. No, these are way, way, way better. The flavor is unmatched. The sauce will have you reaching for a spoon, a straw or even a piece of bread because you don’t want to waste a drop.

These take about 3 hours to make, which gives you 3 hours to come up with some sort of story to tell everyone as to why half of them disappeared before you served them.
Peach and Chili Sauce Meatballs

I do like spicy foods. So I used Sambal Oelek in these peach and chili sauce meatballs. It’s not overly spicy, but it does add a really nice kick. Now, if I was making these for a get-together or the big game I’d probably make two different batches, one with out the chili sauce, and one with. But for me, the kicked-up version is all I’ll ever need!

Also try my sweet-and-spicy appetizer meatballs.

Peach and Chili Sauce Meatballs

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 24 ounce packages frozen pre-cooked meatballs
  • 1/2 cup butter 1 full stick
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 14 ounce can beef broth
  • 1 18 ounce jar peach preserves
  • 1 12 ounce jar chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Asian red chili paste or 1 teaspoon dried chili pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the garlic, stir and saute for 1 minute.
  • Whisk in the flour and whisk for 1 minute to cook.
  • Add the broth and stir. Bring to a boil and let boil until thickened, 1-2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Stir in the peach preserves, chili sauce, chili paste, Worcestershire sauce and onion soup mix. Bring to a simmer, stirring often.
  • Add the meatballs to a 5 quart slow cooker on high heat.
  • Pour the sauce over the meatballs. Cover and heat for 3 hours, stirring gently every 30 minutes or so.